ROOSTERS V BULLDOGS
Allianz Stadium 7.05pm (AEST)
History: Played 169, Roosters 84, Bulldogs 80, drawn 5
Last met: Bulldogs 24-20, round 17, 2016
For 40 minutes last Saturday the Roosters were convincing premiership hot shots, then they appeared to start believing their supposed infallibility. But there was enough to indicate the mangy chooks of 2016 were a thing of the past, unlike the Bulldogs who were again scatty in attack. With the packs evenly matched, under-pressure 'Dogs halves Mybe and Reynolds must fire against the formidable and speedy Roosters outside backs.
TIP - Roosters
WARRIORS V STORM
Mt Smart Stadium 5pm (AEST)
History: Played 38, Storm 20, Warriors 16, drawn 2
Last met: Storm 42-nil, round 8, 2016
Both sides scraped home during the opening round, yet while the Storm were reasonably convincing the Warriors continue to drift in and out of games. With Melbourne already down on troops, the loss of prop Jessie Bromwich could prove catastrophic against the bigger, more mobile Warriors' six. On paper, with a team brimful of class, the Warriors look the goods - but who can ever be confident tipping them?
TIP - Warriors
BRONCOS V COWBOYS
Suncorp Stadium, 7.05pm (AEST)
History: Played 46, Broncos 30, Cowboys 14, drawn 2
Last met: Cowboys 26-20, semi-final, 2016
Considering the past four times these sides have met - three golden-point results and a single-point margin - anything but a spine-tingling finish would surprise. While both were winners last weekend neither was mistake free, and that could be the difference tomorrow night. As is now customary, Johnathan Thurston will be front and centre at every attacking foray from the Cowboys, but Anthony Milford is assuming a similar role with the Broncos. If the Broncos can control the rampaging Jason Taumalolo - who gorged 289 metres last weekend - their dominant 9-4 home record against the Cowboys may just get them home.
TIP - Broncos
KNIGHTS V TITANS
McDonald Jones Stadium, 2pm (AEST)
History: Played 16, Knights 9, Titans 7
Last met: Titans 26-6, round 24, 2016
If first round form is a yardstick, the underwhelming Knights should be favoured to win this. But surely the Titans are better than they showed last week, and surely Jarryd Hayne, their attacking lynchpin, has more to offer than his miserly 89 metres from 13 runs. The Knights were unexpectedly good against the Warriors except for a 12-minute period when they conceded four soft tries, and an upset here would not surprise.
TIP - Titans
SEA EAGLES V RABBITOHS
Lottoland 5pm (AEST)
History: Played 138, Sea Eagles 75, Rabbitohs 63
Last met: Sea Eagles 20-12, round 20, 2016
Michael Maguire might well be devastated over the season-ending injury to Greg Inglis, but with halfback Adam Reynolds also hurt and his team a defensive basket case, he needs to quickly find his coaching aura. And despite an unproductive start last weekend, the resurgent Sea Eagles looked dangerous at times and could well be a second-successive stumbling block for the Rabbitohs. The suspension of props Addin Fonua-Blake and Marty Taupau is a savage blow for the home side.
TIP - Sea Eagles
RAIDERS V SHARKS
GIO Stadium 6.30pm (AEST)
History: Played 67, Sharks 36, Raiders 31
Last met: Sharks 16-14, qualifying final, 2016
They may sit on the second line of NRL premiership betting and they may have been luckless last weekend, but unless the Raiders improve their discipline they will continue to lose close games. But despite that flaw in their make-up, they have Junior Paulo and Jack Wighton returning plus a massive incentive to win against the team that robbed them of a grand final berth five months ago. And the task doesn't get any easier for the hunted Sharks who will again be without the brilliant Valentine Holmes.
TIP - Raiders
TIGERS V PANTHERS
Campbelltown Stadium 3pm (AEST)
History: Played 29, Panthers 17, Tigers 12
Last met: Panthers 40-10, round 24, 2016
On last weekend's results how could the cellar-dwelling Panthers possibly be the $1.70 favourites to beat the Tigers who were scintillating in attack? The obvious belief is that the highly-fancied Panthers had an off day and coach Anthony Griffin will be trusting that was the case. But if they again miss 47 tackles the carefree attacking style of the Tigers backs will again cut them to shreds. The spotlight will no doubt be on troubled Panthers forward Bryce Cartwright who missed seven tackles against the Dragons.
TIP - Panthers
DRAGONS V EELS
WIN Stadium, 5.30pm (AEST)
History: Played 31, Eels 15, Dragons 14, drawn 2
Last met: Eels 30-18, round 25, 2016
Written off by all but their staunchest fans, the Dragons will reassure that horde of doubters if they can't back up their winning, table-topping form of last weekend. But a dead-set certainty is that the Eels, on the rebound from a shocking 2016, won't be taking them lightly. A no-holds barred forward clash is assured, with opposing shot callers Gareth Widdop and Corey Norman likely to provide the attacking impetus, and the difference.
TIP - Eels
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